MMDA suspends full implementation of driver-only car ban
MANILA, Philippines (4th UPDATE) – Amid public clamor against the rule, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Friday, August 17, said it has suspended the full implementation of the driver-only car ban on EDSA during rush hour, which was supposed to begin on August 23.
MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia said in a news briefing the MMDA will just continue with the dry run of the new policy until the Metro Manila Council, which approved the rule, convenes and discusses the matter.
"We will not push through with the full implementation of the measure on August 23. We will continue the dry run until the MMC convenes again," Garcia said in a mix of English and Filipino.
During the dry run which began on August 15, MMDA enforcers flag down violators, reprimand them, and make them take the nearest exit out of EDSA but do not impose any fine. Once the rule is fully implemented, violators will pay a P1,000-fine.
Garcia also addressed the public clamor against the new rule and the Senate resolution urging traffic regulators to "suspend the measure immediately."
“We respect the wisdom of our senators," he said.
The MMDA official said, however, that Metro Manila mayors have the final say on calls to suspend the ban.
"Ang MMDA po ay walang power na ihinto [ito] dahil ito ay [Metro Manila Council] resolution na binubuo ng mayors. Ang makakapagpatigil at makakapagbago nito ay MMC rin, hindi MMDA," Garcia said.
(MMDA has no power to stop [the ban] because it is a Metro Manila Council resolution which was crafted by the mayors. Only the MMC can suspend this measure, not MMDA.)
Garcia reiterated that they only want to promote carpooling along the major thoroughfare. He also agreed with the observation that the new rule was only a "Band-aid" measure but added that traffic congestions on EDSA would improve with the completion of the government's major road infrastructure projects.
On August 7, the MMC approved the measure to reduce traffic congestion in the capital region.
Senators lauded the suspension of of the full implementation of the rule and said this would give Metro Manila authorities a chance to reconsider the measure.
“That policy needs further study and public consultations must be made, which the MMDA and the Metro Manila authorities had failed to do in the first place," Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said in a statement.
Senator Grace Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public services, said the MMDA should now "go back to the drawing board to think hard what can be done to solve our traffic woes."
"Policies should always be practical, implementable and in line with public interest. The MMDA should think hard, so there will be more 'hits' than 'misses' in its campaigns," Poe said.
"Probably, we don’t need new policies, just strict implementation of existing laws and regulations. Mag-public consultation muna kayo (Hold a public consultation first)," she added.
In 2017, there were 367,738 vehicles that ply EDSA daily, 60% to 70% of which are single-occupancy vehicles. MMDA argue that the policy will reduce total vehicles in EDSA by 40% during rush hours. – Rappler.com